Stuck distributor


Well Oiled
Sep 27, 2009
Vancouver, BC
First Name
Willys Model
  1. Wagon
Willys Year:
  1. 1965
Hello everyone: I've got lots of problems with our '65 wagon but she's in reasonable shape overall and runs OK. There is one problem that, I think, is the major reason I flunked AirCare. The distributor is stuck at 20 degrees BTDC! Amazingly, she starts beautifully and only wants to overheat if driven at 50+ mph (I do live in the Pacific NW where it rarely gets hot outside). I've tried almost everything to shift the dist but it won't move. This is the Tornado 230 engine so the dist sits in the front aluminum casting which can easily be cracked I'm sure. Here's what I've tried:
1 soak and resoak in PB Blaster for 3 years
2 using a strong strap wrench, tried to twist the casting back and forth
3 using a specially shaped piece of wood, tried to tap (pound) the underside of the dist casting from below whilest my helper (the poor Mrs.) kept twisting the dist from above
4 ran the engine until the block was hot and repeated steps 1-3 many times

No luck so far!

The next idea is to use a "hammer drill" with an aluminum rod and try to vibrate the unit loose from below... I am at the point of abandoning the distributor altogether and installing a (vastly superior) MegaJolt distributorless ignition system to get around this problem.

Any suggestions?

Thanks, Pavel
Update on stuck distributor: Abstract: Damn and Bugger!

The hammerdrill idea was a glorious failure and only managed to put a thousand little dimples in the dist housing. Next I made up a set of "forceps" similar to those used in birthing (in the good old days). I attached a body 'slide hammer' to my custom forceps and administered a series of blows upwards on the casting. No go. I will continue to apply pressure of all types and might trying one last ploy.... heat up the engine by running for 15 minutes and then pack "dry ice" around the dist housing. It should shrink a bit and then I might be able to produce a "forceps delivery!"

Being a realist, I have begun to make a 36-1 trigger wheel (out of 20 gauge cold rolled steel) needed for a distributorless ignition. This is laborious but beats watching too much TV and annoying the Mrs. I will post pics of the Ford EDIS install as it goes.

Good thing I'm not trying to earn a living this way!